NEW HAVEN — Bend Area firefighters and other first responders joined together this week to teach children from three years through sixth grade about fire safety and prevention.
The efforts were in association with Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, with the theme “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
The New Haven Fire Station was opened to students from New Haven Elementary School on Wednesday. Classes took turns walking to the station, where presentations were given by representatives of the New Haven and Mason fire departments, 911, Mason County EMS, AEP Mountaineer Plant’s Lisa Gangwer, and Gavin plant.
When rain struck shortly before noon, the firemen and others traveled to the school to eat lunch with the children, and make presentations to the students who were unable to walk to the station due to the inclement weather.
On Thursday, members of the Mason Volunteer Fire Department took a fire truck to the Mason Library to visit with the children at story hour.
At both events, a fully suited fireman demonstrated that even though he might look scary with his breathing mask on, he is there to help.
“We have had a lot of success with this program,” said Manning Roe, speaking of the New Haven event.
Roe is a New Haven firefighter and an employee of Gavin, which supports the program. He said all kindergarten students, and students new to the school, are given free smoke detectors each year.
“Having a working smoke detector in a home more than doubles chances of survival,” Roe continued.
The children were taught to have an escape plan and how to call 911. Catchy phrases such as “stop, drop and roll,” and “stay low and go,” help the kids remember how to extinguish a blaze if he catches fire, or how to get out of a smoke-filled house. The youngsters get experience practicing the methods while going through the educational smoke trailer.
“Sparky” the fire prevention Dalmatian visited the students, and packets were handed out. The packets not only included coloring books, posters and stickers for the children, but also information for parents.
Also helping in New Haven were junior firefighters and the teenage children of the firemen.
At story hour, fire department members allowed the children to explore the fire truck and sit in the driver’s seat. They were given fire hats, as well as other goodies.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.